NGO resents delay
FROM A CORRESPONDENT
DHUBRI, April 28: It has been fifteen years since the movement for declaring Sareswar beel (wetland) near Gauripur of Dhubri district started by ture’s Friends, an ture based non-governmental organization (NGO), but still it is being delayed.
Forest Minister, Pramila Rani Brahma had visited the Sareswar beel in January this year and talked to NGO members and interacted with villagers living around the beel. An NGO source informed that forest minister then assured the members that she would take necessary steps to get the Sareswar beel declared as bird sanctuary soon and allot fund in the budget for the development of beel.
Activists of ture’s Friends, who have spearheaded this movement for last fifteen years expressed resentment over the delay. The NGO’s director Kulodhar Das told The Sentinel that the 478 hectares of wetland was being encroached owing to non-declaration of beel as bird sanctuary.
“The entire official formalities were completed including no-objection by BTAD and notification by state government and now it is in the fil stage as the file is awaiting for sanctuary tag to Sareswar beel. We even met forest minister and handed over entire documents to her for ready reference, but why it is being delayed is still not known”, Das resented.
Das said that the wetland is a tural habitat of hundreds of local, migratory and endangered species of birds. “It is not possible to conserve this habitat of birds without the approval of the government and any delay will further affect its conservation”, Das added.
The beel is under the Gauripur Assembly constituency of Dhubri district but comes within the Bodoland Territorial Areas District (BTAD).
NGO sources also informed that replying to a question raised by the then Gauripur MLA Bonendra Kumar Mushahary on the steps taken by the government to declare the beel a bird sanctuary, the then forest minister, Rakibul Hussain had assured the Assembly on December 23, 2011 that the government would soon take all the necessary steps to declare the wetland a bird sanctuary. He said they had got all relevant papers, including a “no objection” certificate from the Bodoland Territorial Council, sources added.
When contacted by this scribe, Mushahary said on Friday that he had been pursuing the matter at all level and as this was in the fil stage so, on any day Sareswar beel could be declared as bird sanctuary by the state government and necessary steps would be taken to develop it.